May 22, 2021 - World

Germany to ban most travel from U.K. as COVID variants spread

Picture of three people in a German airport

Photo: Chistof Stache/AFP via Getty Images

German authorities announced it will ban most non-essential travel from the United Kingdom starting Sunday to prevent the spread of new coronavirus variants.

The state of play: Germany classified Britain as "an area of variant of concern," saying that outbreaks are reemerging and more infectious variants, including the one dominant in India, have been detected.

  • The ban will not apply to German citizens and residents who need to enter the country from Britain, but those exempt will be required to present a negative test before travel and must quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.

What they're saying: "Had a long discussion until late last night until this decision was taken. We looked at all available data and details. We did not take this step lightly," said Andreas Michaelis, Germany's ambassador to the United Kingdom.

  • "We had to move into this direction given the rules we have set ourselves in Germany."

The big picture: The World Health Organization this month declared the mutation of the virus first detected in India a "variant of concern," and its spread in Britain could "serve as an early warning for other European countries that have relaxed restrictions," the New York Times writes.

Go deeper